Saratoga National Golf Course: Above The Law?

[Note:  This was reposted because I published the original email to Mayor Yepsen from September 18 rather than the new one]

I have documented what appears to be the systematic violations by Saratoga National Golf Course to adhere to the requirements of the Special Use Permit issued to them by the city.  To date the city has taken no action regarding these potential violations.  In light of this I have sent emails to Mayor Yepsen and to her opponent, John Safford.  I have asked the mayor to respond by indicating what action she plans to take in this matter.  I have asked Mr. Safford, were he mayor, how would he would address this.


From: John Kaufmann [john.kaufmann21@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 04, 2015 8:41 PM
To: joanne.yepsen@saratoga-springs.org
Cc: ‘christian.mathiesen@saratoga-springs.org’; John Franck (johnfranck@your-
cpas.com); ‘Skip Sciroco’; ‘michele.madigan@saratoga-springs.org’
Subject: Saratoga National Golf Course

This is a follow-up to my email to you of September 18 regarding the apparent violations of the Special
Permit granted to Saratoga National Golf Course.  To date, I have not heard back from you.
As I noted in my original email, it appears that SNGC has been grossly negligent in erecting a “Nature
Trail” to run along the west side of the course as required by its Special Use Permit.  In most cases
there is literally no trail of any kind.  There is virtually no effective signage along the trail as what there
is is buried in places that people seeking to use the trail cannot see them.
Just as seriously is the apparent violation of  the agreement to limit large events to only three per
year.  Your recent attendance at the Saratoga PLAN fundraiser should have given you the flavor for the
kind of large event that the Special Permit was meant to address.  There have been many other large
events at SNGC.  During just one week this summer SNGC hosted the St. Jude’s fundraiser along with
two sold out “Travers Party” events that filled their “Blue Stone Patio” venue. SNGC told a local
periodical that they hosted one hundred and twenty five weddings last year.  I would refer you to the I
Love NY web site http://www.iloveny.com/listings/Saratoga-National-Golf-Club/8704/#.VhFiD7mFPIU
or the SNGC’s own web site for an indication of their very aggressive marketing.  It seems very
possible that they are enjoying the spoils of large profits by violating their agreement with the city.

Property owners throughout this city routinely abide by the city’s many land use requirements as good
citizens.  You can understand how troubled people would be if they were to learn that a major
business in this city has been allowed to violate our land use requirements with impunity.
On August 31, 2015, I formally asked the city Building Inspector to investigate this matter.  I included
with my request that he advise me of his findings and any actions he might take.  It is now many weeks
later and I have heard nothing.  As you know, his office is under your authority.

As a courtesy and in keeping with your campaign commitment to make transparency the hallmark of
your administration, I would be grateful if you could formally respond by indicating what actions
regarding this matter you plan to take.


From: John Kaufmann [john.kaufmann21@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 04, 2015 8:43 PM
To: John Safford (SaffordForSaratoga@gmail.com)
Subject: Saratoga National Golf Course

As you follow my blog, you are aware of my coverage of the apparent violations by Saratoga National
Golf Course of the Special Use Permit they were issued to build their project.

Saratoga National Golf Course was required to build two “Nature Trails” with proper signage and
available to the public.  Any reasonable person who attempted to use the western “Nature Trail”
would find out that most of it does not exist as a trail, let alone a “nature trail.”  There are only two
fragments that could be described as trail like and these lack any signage that would help someone
who wanted to use these trails to access them.

There is also reason to believe that SNGC routinely exceeds the number of large events allowed under
the requirements of the Special Use Permit.  For example, the St. Jude fundraiser, the Feast In the
Fields fundraiser, and the two “Travers Parties” that sold out the Blue Patio Tent on a weekend in
August during the racing season combined with other events taking place at the same time appear to
have exceeded their yearly limit.

If you were Mayor, what action would you take to determine whether Saratoga National Golf Course
had violated their agreement and if they had, what actions would you take to address the problem.


To get some sense of just how aggressively Saratoga National Golf Course markets, check out these links to the I Love NY website.

WIth Gideon Putnam

Touting Their Restaurant


3 thoughts on “Saratoga National Golf Course: Above The Law?”

  1. Hi John,

    I do follow your blog and was held in suspense while you and your friend sought out the Western trail at National. I was a little disappointed that you didn’t mention the well done Eastern trail when you talked at the council meeting.
    I was not a little concerned to hear that the number of events were limited at National . I have attended many not-for-profit fund raisers there and would not like to see them stopped. However, agreements need to be lived up to or they need to be modified.
    As you know my numerous conversations with residents in the area reflect an irritation with the many fireworks displays at National and, even more importantly with the general traffic problems at either end of Gilbert Road. Frankly, almost all of the people I talked with like and use National regularly.
    From what I understand (except for the Eastern Trail), National has met or exceeded its promises to bring a hi-end golf course to the Eastern Ridge. As Mayor, I will bring up the agreement and see if there is reason to modify it.

    Liked by 1 person

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